There was big news today about the Senate voting against the right of concealed weapon license holders being able to carry their weapon across states (essentially turning a CHL into something resembling a driver’s license, in that a license granted in a single state is considered valid in another). While I’m not going to argue the right/wrong of the issue’s outcome, I wanted to point out something that really eerked me in a LA Times article on the subject (article here).
Here’s the quote:
“Opponents of the measure — including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police and the mayors of Los Angeles and New York, among others — called it an assault on states’ rights and warned that it would increase gun violence”
Here’s my problem(s) with the above statement. First and foremost, the law being voted on is not an assault on state’s rights. The second amendment of the Constitution clearly says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
While one could debate what “a well regulated militia” means, for the purposes of my argument it means “the people” since in the time the Constitution was written, the army was the people. But it the amendment clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall NOT be infringed” and with that, allowing a gun owner (and licensed concealed weapon holder) to cross state lines is a right afforded by the Constitution of these United States.
Continuing that line of thought, the tenth amendment of the same Constitution is the one that deals specifically with states rights and it says:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
When you read the above quote, focus on the part where it says “nor prohibited by it to the States” which means that a state can not infringe on a right specifically granted by the Constitution. Since the “people’s right to bear arms” is something that “should not be infringed upon” in the previous amendment, the law that failed to pass through the Senate today is not in anyway “an assault on states rights” and in fact, the argument of the people and organizations is in fact a violation of federal rights granted by the Constitution.
Let’s review. The right for a person to bear arms is the second amendment of the United States Constitution (second to freedom of speech, religion, and press), and the tenth amendment clearly says that a state law can not supersede a right granted by the Constitution. Therefore, since the second amendment states a person has the right to bear arms, according to the tenth amendment, state laws are prohibited from creating laws that counter that amendment because creating a law that infringes on one’s rights to bear arms is a power prohibited by the Constitution.